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03
“Voter shaming” is new. Hypocrisy is as old as politics. The North Carolina Republican Party found a way to engage in both last week.
 
A local voter received a card from the GOP with this warning: “The News and Observer reported last week that Barack Obama and Harry Reid’s operation plans to publish and share your voting record with your neighbors after this election.”
 
So the GOP published and shared neighbors’ voting records BEFORE the election. The card contained the 2010, 2012 and 2014 voting record of the recipient and four neighbors.
 
Of course, the card was just a public service: “The Republican Party wanted to make you aware of this, so Reid and Obama don’t have the chance to embarrass you for staying home on election day.”
 
Thanks for sparing us that embarrassment – by doing it now.
 
By the way, you might ask: Why do both parties engage in the obnoxious practice of voter shaming? Because, the GOTV experts say, it works.

 

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01
Governor McCrory is the Missing Man in Republican campaign ads.
 
Thom Tillis campaigns with John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Mitt Romney. Wake County Republicans line up beside Sheriff Donnie Harrison.
 
But no Pat. No “endorsed by Governor McCrory” boasts. Not many rallies featuring the Gov. The only ads about McCrory attack him on coal ash.
 
He’s as scarce in GOP ads as President Obama in Democrats’ ads. Which says it all.
 
The Elon Poll found their job ratings about the same. McCrory’s are 37 approve, 47 disapprove; Obama’s, 40 approve, 52 disapprove.
 
Not a good sign for a Governor whose reelection battle begins Wednesday.

 

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31
Don’t ever say campaign ads aren’t educational. We’ve learned a lot this year, for example, about what judges do.
 
Judging (so to speak) from their ads, judges spend a lot of time reading things out of big books and copying them down on paper. They apparently must do this by hand, which seems laborious and time-consuming and may explain why it takes the courts so long to do anything.
 
This work may sound easy, but try doing it while sitting down in your choir robe.
 
Also, judges apparently spend a lot of time conducting serious conversations with serious-looking people who pay close attention to what they say. That makes sense, as the judge can throw them in the pokey for looking at His or Her Honor wrong. Many of these conversations occur when the judge is sitting at a bench, and some happen as they walk along marble-lined corridors.
 
I personally had no idea before this campaign what judges really do. So look for these qualities before you cast your ballot in the judicial races.

 

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30
Chad Barefoot must have asked his team: “What can we do that will so anger and offend women that they’ll vote AGAINST me?”
 
They came up with an ad that has backfire potential approaching the “child molester” ad against Justice Robin Hudson. It portrays Sarah Crawford’s husband as a cigar-smoking lobbyist laughing about how his little woman will vote the way he tells her to in the Senate.
 
Kimberly Reynolds of the Senate Democratic caucus pounced: “Evidently in Senator Barefoot’s world, corporate lobbyists rule and women are expected to simply follow their husbands’ orders.”
 
The ad could be a caricature of the Negative Ad. It’s not only sexist and over-the-top, it’s hypocritical: Yes, Sarah’s husband is a lobbyist – for the League of Conservation Voters. And, I’m told, Chad Barefoot’s mother-in-law also is a lobbyist – for the outfit that passed Amendment One.
 
In a district where women already are motivated – and make up a high number of swing voters – Chad & Co. may have pulled off one of the biggest bonehead plays of this election year.

 

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30
President Obama may have the most brilliant strategy on earth to defeat Ebola but, on the other hand, he may go down in history as the first head of a government to encourage thousands of people (doctors and nurses) to visit a plague zone and then return home to meld back into the population without, first, determining whether or not they caught the plague.


 

 

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30
The term is new to me, but dog whistles are the oldest thing in Southern politics. This election, like all of them, comes down to race.
 
In 1950, it was “White People Wake Up…Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and daughters in your mills and factories?”
 
In 1984, it was “I oppose the Martin Luther King holiday. Where do you stand, Jim?”
 
Today it’s mailers linking Gary Pendleton’s opponent Kim Hanchette to a scary-looking photo of the Rev. William Barber. And Phil Matthews’ supporters criticizing Matt Calabria for supporting UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies when he ran for UNC student body president in 2004.
 
Same old, same old.
 
Republicans, as always, will say it’s Democrats who are “playing the race card.” They’ll say it’s racist for Democrats to link Republicans like Thom Tillis to Stand Your Ground laws, President Obama’s impeachment and voter-suppression laws.
 
Where you come down on this divide pretty much defines where you stand in American politics.
 
Just like it has ever since the Civil War, it still comes down to race.

 

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30
If you’re tired of ads, tired of contradictory punditry and tired of conflicting, confusing and cooked-up polls, here’s a prescription for sanity: Take a dose of the Elon University poll.
 
A warning about side effects: It will calm Democrats and give Republicans heartburn. (Hagan is up 45-41.)That aside, it gives you as clear, comprehensive and unbiased a look at the North Carolina electorate right now as you’re going to get. It isn’t a quickie poll to get the sponsor a headline, and it isn’t a cooked-up poll from a partisan.
 
Best of all for us poll junkies, they give you the full crosstabs. You can see the racial and religious breakdowns, the difference between NC natives and non-natives, voters’ opinions about issues from gay marriage (opposition is up) to abortion restrictions (opposition is also up).
 
You can see what has to be the number of most concern to Thom Tillis and the Republican legislature: 30 approve, 55 disapprove (worse than Obamacare). Nor will Governor McCrory find much comfort: he gets 37 approve, 47 disapprove.
 
A tip of the TAP hat to the Elon poll team!

 

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29
Thom Tillis said Kay Hagan voted for Obama’s Stimulus Bill then her husband’s company got $390,000 in Stimulus Funds as a pay-off. And Hagan fired back Tillis (as Speaker) put a toll road near Charlotte in exchange for $25,000 in campaign contributions and sold three seats on the UNC Board of Governors for $75,000 in donations to his SuperPac.
 
Imagine being an Undecided Independent voter.
 
You don’t like Tillis or Hagan. You’d love to vote against both. But you have to choose one. And a week before the election, you turn on the TV and hear him saying ‘she’s a crook’ and her saying ‘he’s a bigger crook.’
 
How do you decide? Flip a coin?

 

 

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29
Thom Tillis faces a big obstacle as he tries to catch up in the final days: Thom Tillis.
 
If you turn off the sound and just watch Tillis, you’ll see the problem he has swaying undecided voters, especially those Walmart (or Target) moms who haven’t made up their minds yet.
 
Tillis can look cold, mean, even cruel. His countenance has the air of the management consultant he was, a tough guy who tells the CEO to eliminate that operation and lay off those employees.
 
He can’t help it even in his own positive ad. He addresses the camera, and it seems that we’re going to see a soft, friendly side. Then he sticks it to Senator Hagan, calling her a rubber-stamp. Where did Mr. Nice Guy go?
 
Contrast Tillis with another US Senate challenger, Scott Brown in New Hampshire (by way of Massachusetts). Clearly, Brown is a carpetbagger, a brazen opportunist and dumb as a bag of rocks. But, just as clearly, he seems to be a fun, friendly guy, a guy you’d like to have a beer with, as they say.
 
At this point in this race, undecided voters are looking for something to hang their hats on. It may not be an issue or a new piece of information. It may just be that human intuition about who you like and trust.
 
Tillis loses that test.
 

 

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29
A pollster will usually ask voters: Would you say you 1) Always vote Democratic, 2) Usually vote Democratic, 3) Always vote Republican, 4) Usually vote Republican or 5) would you say you split your ticket and vote for about as many Republicans as Democrats?
 
Down at the Editorial Board (not in the news room) at the News and Observer the boys have gone 5 for 5 in the local Congressional Races – picking five Democrats and not a single Republican.  
 
They also went 4 for 4 in the County Commissioners races – picking 4 Democrats.  
 
And they endorsed Lorrin Freeman, the Democrat in the District Attorney’s race.
 
Then they went 12 of 12 – endorsing 12 Democrats in the State House races.
 
They did endorse one Republican – Sheriff Donnie Harrison – in a backhanded way, spending most of their editorial explaining what Donnie had done wrong and praising his opponent.
 
At any rate, one thing’s clear: Whoever’s doing the picking down at the N&O Editorial Board isn’t a ticket splitter.

 

 

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Carter & Gary
 
Carter Wrenn
 
 
Gary Pearce
 
 
The Charlotte Observer says: “Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But they both love North Carolina and know its politics inside and out.”
 
Carter is a Republican. 
Gary is a Democrat.
 
They met in 1984, during the epic U.S. Senate battle between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt. Carter worked for Helms and Gary, for Hunt.
 
Years later, they became friends. They even worked together on some nonpolitical clients.
 
They enjoy talking about politics. So they started this blog in 2005. 
 
They’re still talking. And they invite you to join the conversation.
 
 
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